Seeking informed advice on speaker acquisition (Vandersteen vs. OHM Walsh)
I bought a used pair of Vandersteen 2CEs about 6 months ago. They sound great to my relatively uninformed ears, but I would like to step it up. The Vandys are 25+ years old. I have two speakers under consideration and would like input from individuals who have heard both. I am considering upgrading the Vandys to the 2CE Signature II model. I am sure the improvements in the last quarter century will greatly enhance my listening experience. The other speaker I am considering is an Ohm Walsh 2000. I have read many rave reviews on the Ohm Walsh and am seeking input from those who have heard both.
I would also like to hear from those who have heard both speakers, but have an alternative in mind. My budget cap is $3000. I prefer to buy a new pair, but I am not opposed to acquiring a used offering in great condition. I am in the Atlanta area if anyone has a used pair for sale.
My room specs are 18 x 15 with 7 foot ceilings. System:Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II; Merrill Super12 Polytable; Oppo UDP-203; Parks Audio Hybrid Budgie phono
apples and salmon, they are that different...... i have not heard any current production Walsh speakers - I am quite familiar with them from years back and tge essential design principle remains. i own 3 pair of Vandersteen, so I am biased. Alan is fantastic to work with if you are fisiting HiFi Buys in Buckhead - we have bought quite a bit of Ayre, Aesthetix , Audioquest and Vandersteen gear from him over the years. i have heard the latest 2 run with VTL and also w Rogue KT120 integrated in San Diego - not your Dads old model 2
enjoy your search reach out if I can help in any way.
I am a Vandy owner and a bit of a fanboy. I also like the sound of Ohm speakers. For me, it would depend upon the situation. For critical listening and precise presentation, the Vandersteen's would be my choice. If you want a more general presentation with room filling sound, the Ohm's would be a way to go. Not that the Ohm's can't present a soundstage, the Vandersteen's use phase and time alignment, which produces a very coherent sound. The Ohm's are more like a direct/refecting speaker (think Bose)-The sound is nice and diffuse. Just my 2 cents... Bob
Like Tomic said you can listen to the Vandies at Alan's but with Ohm you will have to take advantage of their 120 day trial. For the money the 2CE Sig will be hard to beat if your room will allow proper setup. I have a pair of 2CE Sigs that have been boxed up since I bought a pair of Treo's from Alan four years ago that I just haven't been all that motivated to sell. Another relatively unknown gem with a similar sonic signature to the 2CE Sig is the Odyssey Lorelei.
Keep in mind that Ohm, as a direct sales company, gives you 120 days to audition their speakers in your own home. You're only out shipping costs if you decide to send them back.
I like the voicing of Vandy's -- very natural IMO -- but they are still a box speaker in terms of radiation pattern.
I owned a pair of the original Ohm Fs (and regretted selling them almost immediately years ago) but they would be way too big for my current room. I'm in the process of deciding which veneer to get on a pair of Ohm 1000s that I'll be ordering shortly. I'm looking for a more spacious sound, along with not being tied to a small sweet spot for the best listening. I've got a difficult room (openings in awkward spots), but after discussing with John at Ohm, it looks like these speakers will be an improvement over my current layout.
Why not take Ohm up on their home trial offer? Can't say "nothing" to lose (i.e., shipping), but if you're serious about finding which is best for you, it'd be a cheap way to find out for sure.
tomic601 - I have bought from Alan @ Hifi Buys and I think their customer service is top notch. Thanks for your assistance offer. gdnrbob - I'm a Vandy fanboy too after owning this mint pair of 2CEs. I am seeking the best of both worlds I guess. My ratio of critical (vise-grip) listening to general (around the room) listening is probably a 1:5 ratio. Therefore, I would rate a speaker that can present in a 270 degree field higher. I am not an overly critical listerner, and want more of a consistent full field presentation that is generally satisfying (but love what Vandy does).
jackd - I am seriously considering taking advantage of the trial and doing A/B comparisons with the 2CEs. Let me know if you want to unload your Signature models. Are they the II version? Thanks for the
seanheis 1 - I researched them quite a bit. Would love to hear them, but the street word is they were a but bright in comparison. This may not be accurate, but I have to isolate the contenders. I do love their look (but that is a minor consideration).
For all, I honestly want to replicate the 2CEs with a modern incarnation, but I am curious about the Ohm Walsh's reputation and accolades. My best friend (who got me into HEA) heard a pair and they blew him away like no other speaker he had heard. I'm patient and want the best fit. I appreciate all of the input and guidance. Being a novice, it is very helpful.
misstl - Thanks for your input. I spoke with Evan at Ohm Walsh today and he was very helpful in discussing the merits of their speaker line. They have a 1-month backlog. But a 120-day return guarantee is very enticing. Maybe some change is good. If I don't like them, I keep the Vandys.
@arturos, Thanks for clarifying your listening habits. In my experience, Vandy's are very good even with off center listening. Like you, I don't want to be held in a vice. My chair is literally in front of the left speaker, but I still get a very nice soundstage. And, the sound is quite listenable even behind the speakers. I owned the 3a sigs and currently the Treo's. Both exhibited the same qualities. So, I think whatever model you choose, you should be good to go. Like I said, the Ohm's are more direct/reflecting. Given proper positioning, I am sure they can offer a detailed soundstage like the Vandy's, but in my opinion, having a time and phase aligned speaker is the best way to go. I wish there were a way for you to audition both speakers. Where are you located? Bob
>> ... having a time and phase aligned speaker is the best way to go. - - - - Just a point of clarification. The Ohms, by inherent nature, are time and phased aligned since all frequencies up to 8K are reproduced by a single driver. The range easily applies to the fundamental frequencies for voice and all instruments. By the time you get to the crossover frequency on an Ohm, the wavelength is well less than 2" which means even minor head motions would impact that. Our hearing simply isn’t phase sensitive that high up, and we are only dealing with higher harmonics.
wave propagation thru a cone and time and pase aligned pistonic behavior are NOT the same....period. not sure comparing current production to a 20 year old speaker is fair, you should at least borrow some current sigs from Alan imo... if you like the 901 approach consider a pair of used Vandersteen model 5 and turn on the rear tweeter...
@ tomic601: The TW's, the Vandy 2's and the Ohm Sound Cylinders are all certainly compatible. Nice open sound, wide soundstage and very good bass! And an easy load for amplifiers! Tough to choose among the three - each has their fans!
No experience with Ohm, although I've heard good things over the years. I've owned Vandy 3A's for quite some time and love them. I'd like to upgrade them to the 3A sigs, but don't have 3 grand laying around loose. I recently did a pretty full-on room treatment with D-I-Y panels and the results are amazing. Never knew how good my gear was. To my ears the 3A seems to do just about everything well. You can probably find a used set for a couple G's...........As an aside, if you haven't done so, please address your room acoustics. It's easier and cheaper than any gear you're likely to buy and the results are little short of amazing. You won't need "Golden Ears" to hear the improvements, just set your speakers up properly. Best $500 I ever spent in the hobby......If your wife or significant other doesn't want "boxes" all over the walls, let her choose the material from the local fabric store. I did that and the end results are as aesthetically pleasing as they are musically.........Good Luck.
@arturos73 I currently own the Vandersteen 2ce Sig II’s.
In general I like them but there are things about them that I find frustrating. I do find them at times to be somewhat lacking in detail. Example: I am a drummer, when I put on a Police record I expect to hear Stewart Copeland’s hi-hats and all of the nuances and intricate patterns he plays. With the Vandy’s these details are very difficult to hear.
Also, I don’t really enjoy listening to any recordings that aren’t hifi audio quality. Examples: Steely Dan, Dire Straits, Feetwood Mac, etc. I suppose it could be a case of garbage in/ garbage out and that the Vandy’s are accurate revealing the quality of the source material.
Also, I have found that they don’t really "come alive" unless you goose them a little bit (could be my amp/room/source?). Even with these perceived issues, I have had some amzaing listening sessions and do enjoy many aspects with the Vandy’s.
On the plus side they image like no other speakers I’ve heard! Also they have plenty of slam to them. Put on a recording like ZZ Top - La Grange and they will blow you out of your seat.
As for the Ohms. A few months ago I went to their faciltiy and had a chance to demo the Tall 1000’s. These speakers are very FUN speakers to listen to. You could put on just about ANY recording and they make them sound good. I put on Bill Evans - Sunday at the Village Vanguard and heard the low din of patrons talking and glasses clinking. Also as mentioned, with their dispersion pattern and single driver, the sweet spot is literally everywhere.
On the negatve side, I found their sound rather reflective and not direct - diffuse if you will. Kind of a little bit hollow, perhaps lacking in midrange. And they definitely did not have the "slam" of the Vandys. Now in fairness, the Ohm facility is not ideally suited for critical listening. It’s essentially a warehouse. Also the amp was very low end. At times, I wonder how the Ohms would sound in my room with my gear.
Any way, I hope this helps. Good luck on your search...
@audionoobie, Nice post and it describes what I meant by 'direct/reflecting' of the Ohm's. I really like the sound, but I think the Vandy's do it better. If you aren't hearing subtleties in your music, I would consider changing your amp and preamp. Ayre is one of the best matches for Vandy's. It sounds like you are in the NY area, if you visited Ohm. If so, I would contact John Rutan at Audioconnection and get his take on your current equipment. I promise he won't try to sell you anything (that you don't want), and will give you the best information on how to open up your Vandy's.
I second gdnrbob's post. When I was a kid the speaker that did it for me were the Ohm A.......although you needed Boulder Dam to get them to do their thing. I now have Vandersteen 5A.....always smiles.
Something out of the box.... want more detail and less distortion in the HF get the new VLR—SIG with carbon tweeter on a set of Pangea stands, add Sound Anchors and Sub, then subs later.... you might also look for the original Quattro, :-)
shadowcat2016: Great advice, thanks. I agree room treatment is critical. I have been overwhelmed with the prices, options and differing opinions out there though. What source did you use for recommendations? Where did you acquire the treatments? I made a couple of panels a while back out of plywood, pillow foam and fabric. I use them on the walls on either side of the Vandys to great effect. Would love to do more on that front. audionoobie: Thanks for the input. Speaking of ZZ Top, I red-lighted the Vandys listening to Tres Hombres (Waiting for the Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago) the other night. I had forgotten those idiot-proof warning lights were in the Vandy. Scared the excrement outta me seeing those demon eyes flashing at me. Speaking of Bill Evans, Waltz For Debbie floors me every time I hear it on these Vandys.
To all: As a novice, I want to experience other speaker house-sounds, but don't want to make a step backwards. All of the info received thus far indicates I should stay with the Vandy sound - which I love. Then again, the Ohm's may bring something else to the table that checks off other boxes and I could dig them as well, or better. I'm gonna table the decision for the moment, but may take up that 120-day offer and do some A/B comparisons. Thanks for all of the great advice.
I was gonna get a new pair of the latest 2Ce sig IIs since I love my 2Cs so much... until the day I walked into my Vandersteen dealer and heard the Treos CTs. Now I can't go back... trebel and detail to die for all with that Vandy sound you know and love. I have to figure out how to come up with an extra $5500 dollars :O Beware of the higher end models spoiling it for you.
I have the OHM 5000's and the more power you feed them the better the more dynamic they sound. I run them with a Bryston 14bsst. When the drum kicks in on Yes "Leave It" it sounds like a cannon going off. When I blew out a tweeter 5 years ago, John S. designed an ingenious protection device for it because I told him I like it loud. When the volume gets too high a bulb will flash draining off the excess energy. It looks really cool but I turn the volume back quick.
@bstatmeister You are so right about being spoiled! I went from 3A Signatures to Treo CTs. And no, there is no going back. For me, the smoothness, the clean, undistorted sound is remarkable for speaker in their price range.🎼
I have owned speakers at price levels above and below the Vandy Treo Ct's. These speakers with one 2Wq sub are giving me the best sound I ever had in my system. I have never owned Ohm Walsh speakers, but have heard them and they are fine speakers too, just a different presentation. As tomic601 said, "apples and salmon" comparison. Hard to imagine two completely different sounding loudspeaker systems....IMO
@arturos73 Thanks for the heads up on the idiot-proof warning lights. I had no idea they were there.
@mr_m Are you saying you've never had better sound with the Treos CT's and the 2Wq sub? I'd love to move up to the Treos some day. But between home renovations and wanting to but a boat, it may take a while!
Lots of info sites and manufacturers for acoustic panels and placement. If you have the cash any number of places will be happy to sell you their room treatment panels...................I'm a D-I-Y guy and like getting the best bang for the buck, so I built my own. I used 3/4 plywood cut to size for the frames. You can make quite a few frames from a single sheet, so cost per is pretty cheap. Stuffed them with 3" rock wool, although there are other choices at roughly $1 per square foot, again pretty cheap. I wrapped each panel with fabric from Joann's fabric store, but pretty much any fabric will work as long as it's reasonably light weight. I used 100% cotton print that I liked. The fabric was the most expensive part of the equation, but that was simply because I went with something I felt would be attractive in the room. What I used was about $13 a yard and I probably used 25 yards or so, but you can buy something suitable for half that price, less on sale...........Even still, to do a rather extensive room treatment cost me less than $500, a fraction of what we typically spend on gear or even cables and the difference was quite significant and positive. You won't need super hearing to appreciate it and you'll be quite amazed at how much better music you thought you knew well is going to sound. Built frames, cut and stuffed with mineral wool....easy to cut BTW, stretched the fabric neatly over it, like wrapping a Christmas present and stapled from the back.............Let your wife or significant other choose the fabric if she wishes. That way she's more likely to be receptive to the whole idea and these "boxes" can actually be made quite attractive as well as functional with a little creativity.............Enjoy!!.....What I built, BTW is virtually the same thing that most manufacturers will sell you for significantly more money.........There's no magic to it and it works.
I'd say this comes down to what type of listener you are. If you like to sit in the sweet spot and listen more critically the Vandy's would probably be my choice. The Ohm's on the other hand (I've owned 2 pairs) will fill a room with pleasing full range sound with any type of music or movie that will sound excellent regardless of where you sit in the room. The Ohm's sometimes get lumped in to the "Bose Lifestyle" type of speakers and I think this is a bit unfair. The way the produce sound is so different than most everything out there that once you've become accustomed to it (like me) direct radiating speakers just don't sound right anymore. The one word for me that best describes Ohm's is "Big", they just sound huge and full and I'd say the best compliment I can give them is once installed in my system I stopped fretting over my equipment and just enjoyed the sound. They are both great speakers and you really can't go wrong either way, just figure out how you'll be utilizing them and that should lead you to your choice.
Placement isn't critical, but cover your first reflection points first. This is where music from your speakers will bounce off flat any room surface, wall or ceiling and be reflected to your listening position............think of it like playing pool, it's a bank shot with sound instead of a pool ball.............Easy to locate these. Have someone sit in your spot while you move a mirror around the walls and ceiling.........I did it by myself, but it's faster and easier with a helper....Any place that you can see either speaker in the mirror from the listening position is a first reflection point and should be treated. After that treat as many corners as you practically can........each room is different. You'll get the best effect by straddling the corners, wall-wall as well as wall-ceiling with the panels. Panels that will straddle corners should be left open in the back to allow the sound to pass through, bounce off the surface behind it and come back. This effectively acts as a deeper panel and you'll get better low frequency absorption from each box that way.
I wasn't certain what or how much to expect so I built and installed a few at a time, then played music and listened..........It just kept getting better, so I kept building panels..............Keep in mind that there is a point where you can have too much of a good thing. The music will begin to sound worse or dead instead of better.........That's largely a personal preference, so take your time and when it sounds right to you, or you think you maybe went too far, just stop.
My room is 14x23x7.5 feet and I installed a total of 22 panels around the room and ceiling. Thicker panels soak up lower frequencies, panels straddling corners tend to behave acoustically like a thicker panel. Different types of rock wool or fiber glass will absorb sound slightly differently, but probably not enough to matter in the grand scheme of things. I bought Roxul, 3" rock wool from Lowes because it was readily available and inexpensive, but as mentioned there are other options. Easy to cut, I just used a sharp, serrated butcher knife and it cut just fine.
My system is probably around the $30k MSRP point and the money I spent treating the room probably made a bigger difference in bass, sound stage, imaging, detail and overall quality than any single piece of gear I've ever bought.............for 500 bucks............Music that I had listened to many times and thought I knew, as well as my system, sounded so different with may recordings that it was like I hadn't heard it before.........you can't go wrong my friend and acoustic panels don't need to be "burned in"....although I wouldn't be surprised if some one here disputes that!! LOL........try it, you'll like it
I agree with audionoobie concerning the need to goose the Vandy's a bit to really open them up. Mine, the 3A's, seem to have two gears, low, which is fine for more casual listening and high when you really want them to start singing.............Not saying that you need a monster amp, I could drive mine just fine with a 130 watt intergrated (Bryston) before I bi-amped them. Nor do you need to rattle the windows, volume wise, but they do sound better at higher levels. Depending on your listening tastes and where you live, that may be an issue. I enjoy them at low volume, but they ARE better with more power.
dep14: You have an order on back order? Which ones did you get? If you've heard them, what were your impressions? shadowcat2016: Thanks for the great DIY advice. I researched making my own a while back, but forgot most of what I read after building my first two. Reading your post was a good reminder. I forgot about the rock wool. Luckily, I have my own music room so aesthetics won't be an issue. Did you do roof panels above/in front of the speakers? I have 15'x18' room with 7' wood plank ceilings, brick walls and wall-to-wall rugs. I have a large two-pane window on the side wall too. I am going to source materials like you did and experiment. How did you build the corner panels? Any other advice is greatly appreciated.
So I have some much older used, beat to heck cylinders. I liked much of what they could do as a speaker, so... I ordered a pair of Demo 4900’s that I was going to try and then make a decision on that model, likely in a different color or even something else in the line-up. My hope was the demo's could ship a bit more quickly than they have. I'm sure they are just busy.
Unfortunately that was back in early June. I know they took some time off in July. I had expected them to ship. I’m likely going to cancel them for now as things have changed a bit in my situation. I still may try some at some point, very nice guys, interesting speakers. But some of the excitement has worn off along with a major landscape project at home. So, probably holding off on them for now.